Kiev To Blame For Worsening Of Russia-Ukraine Ties - Yanukovych

KIEV, Ukraine -- Former Ukrainian prime minister Viktor Yanukovych blamed Kiev on Wednesday for the worsening of Russian-Ukrainian ties.

Pro-Moscow Viktor Yanukovych

"Never before have we had such unpleasant relations with the Russia as at present," the leader of Ukraine's opposition and pro-Russian Party of Regions told readers of a Kiev-based newspaper in a phone-in.

He also said that Ukraine's "negligent leaders are pursuing a badly thought-out policy regarding our neighbors."

In an August 11 open letter to his Ukrainian counterpart, Viktor Yushchenko, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev blamed Kiev for the deterioration in relations between the two former Soviet republics, strained in recent years by gas disputes, Ukraine's desire to join NATO, and interpretations of the Soviet-era famine in Ukraine. Russia has also accused Ukraine of supplying weapons to Georgia during last year's war between Russia and Georgia over South Ossetia.

Medvedev also announced in his message that he was holding off sending Russia's new ambassador to Ukraine over Kiev's anti-Russian policies.

"The well-known events in South Ossetia will also remain a dark chapter in Russian-Ukrainian relations. This is a fact," Yanukovych, who is planning to run in January's presidential elections in Ukraine, said.

On the issue of the Russian-Ukrainian gas dispute, the former premier said he regretted that "the entire contractual base in gas relations developed by several Ukrainian governments has been ruined."

Source: RIA Novosti